My moniker consisted of dichotomy, as did my character and life.
“If you throw dynamite into water, the water blasts out at you. So if it’s a well of inspiration, it’ll blast me with inspiration.” My blog was a couple of months old and I was defending my old tagline: Standing at the well of inspiration with a stick of dynamite. I was chatting with one of my favorite readers, a silver-foxy know-it-all with actual insight.
Other bloggers didn’t know what to make of me. Why would I put “gunmetal” in my name? Was I aggressive? Did I have anger issues? And dynamite is dangerous, why so much violence?
Most of my readers were men. They seemed less perturbed by ammo imagery than moms who blogged and they took an interest in me through my thoughts since they couldn’t see my boobs. To this day, I use an avatar that looks cold and inhuman (though it’s actually a highly processed image of me) because I want to cultivate the kind of reader for whom I come alive through words.
I know full well the effectiveness of a natural, smiling picture of me staring into the eyes of the viewer. It would make me less removed, more relatable and create a level of comfort. But I sneak in pictures of myself in other ways so I can justify my icy pseudo-geisha image—over which an ambitious blogger once accused me of cultural appropriation.
Cultural appropriation is a complicated subject fit for future discussion, but if a blue-eyed blonde decided to take on the moniker of Persian Princess, I would be intrigued, not outraged. I laughed off the ambitious blogger’s suggestion, telling him he was blurring cross-cultural appreciation with a hot-button issue.
Frankly, the world can use more respectful nods to other cultures and less politically-correct posturing.
My silver-foxy reader, on the other hand, had a philosophical issue with my moniker:
“The trouble is geisha. Gunmetal works. It evokes the honest truth in your writing. You out all of us. That’s gunmetal. Geisha is a servant. We romanticize that she isn’t, but that’s bullshit. And you’re nobody’s servant.”
“Servants don’t carry dynamite.” I wasn’t too worried I was projecting a servile image.
“That’s the other thing—dynamite would destroy the well. A big rock would splash it out.”
Standing at the well of inspiration with a big rock? I may as well change my name to Cavewoman Crooner.
“Okay, so maybe there’s a little force in it—because—I’m not exactly passive. Maybe I’m a little brutal.” But was I? Wasn’t the glue holding words together on Gunmetal Geisha supposed to be strength and compassion?
We went through a few alternatives.
Nudging the well of inspiration with a playful stick of dynamite. That was like pointing a hotdog at the bank teller and expecting them to open the safe.
Standing at the well of inspiration, coaxing with a stick of dynamite. With a twenty-three inch waist and a penchant for the smell of paper, I could’ve gone on.
In the end, the new tagline came together on its own. I would miss the dynamite for sure, but a case of chronic dichotomy encapsulated the blog. My moniker consisted of dichotomy, as did my character and life.
The—somewhat—obscurity of the phrase was fitting. It alluded to writing that’s meandering and layered: Basically, I use big words and I want readers who are attracted to big words.
Of course, a surefire way to kill readership on a personal blog is by posting inconsistently. If you truly write for the sake of writing and self-exploration, you may be one to wait for inspiration to hit. But you might be better off with a “stick of dynamite” to coax inspiration since you’re writing to be heard. If no one stays around to hear you because you haven’t said anything in a while, you kind of have to start from scratch.
There is one advantage to stepping away from our blog. When we come back to it, it’s with less of a subjective perspective. We realize the dime-a-dozen badges and awards we used to fret over don’t matter to anyone except other bloggers. You can be sure I’m not putting down the blogging community. I’ve forged close and lasting friendships through blogging with people I wouldn’t have otherwise met.
It doesn’t have to be a bad thing that most of our readers are going to be other bloggers. No matter how much we want our emphasis to be on writing, blogging is a community enterprise. Very often, readers’ comments indirectly guide me to edit, clarify and improve a post. Sometimes, bloggers become not only friends, but each other’s editors and writing coaches. I, for one, am grateful to bloggers for the priceless experience in writing, self-discovery and communion.
Meanwhile, I will respectfully continue to write an unmommy blog for the obvious reason that I’m not a mom. I have a mom though, which should count for something, since she had a hand in who I am, and who I am…chooses not to bear children.
Biggish words and no potty training—if you like the sound of it, come along. I’ve got a trippy treasure hunt planned for you, complete with prizes.
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Why am I doing this?
Well, I’m starting from scratch and I want your readership, of course. The good part is, I don’t half-ass things, so both the treasure hunt and prize should be worth your time.
Side note: The Exceptionally Tall Man says this post started out funny but ended up like a commercial. He feels baited. According to him, even though they don’t know each other, I should wrap back around to my silver-foxy reader. ← There, I listened.
Hate “commercials”? Me too. Like good deeds? Me too! How about this good deed: spare everyone of future commercials by signing up now!
No, for real.
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